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What Is the Gluten Free Diet?

Posted Apr 05 2010 5:26pm

The idea behind the Gluten Free Diet is to only consume foods that do not contain gluten. Gluten occurs naturally in some foods, and is used as a food additive in others. Gluten is found naturally in many foods that have always been considered to be healthy, such as wheat, barley, and rye.

What is the Gluten Free Diet

Are Gluten Free Foods Really Gluten Free?

Even if a food does not naturally contain gluten, it can come into contact with a gluten containing product causing gluten contamination. What this means is that if you are on a gluten free diet, you need to carefully select your foods, and be aware of how the food is processed for marketing to ensure that you really are not consuming any gluten at all.

It is also important that you understand that gluten is not just used in food. It is also commonly used in medications, and you will need to discuss this possibility with your doctor when he or she needs to prescribe a medication for you, or when you need to purchase an over-the-counter medication.

What is the Gluten Free Diet used for?

The Gluten Free Diet can be used for weight loss, but it is most commonly used in the treatment of specific health issues. These health conditions include migraine headaches, gluten intolerance, coeliac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, and of course allergies to wheat and wheat products.

While research is not completed or conclusive, there has been some hope that this type of diet can lessen autistic behaviors. There is also hope that it can help to diminish the effects of Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes, Arthritis, Down’s Syndrome, Seizures, and more.

What Grains Can Be Consumed on the Gluten Free Diet?

There are several sources for foods that do not contain gluten. Most commonly, these foods are starches and grains, in their most natural form. Corn and rice are the most well known grains, but there are many others. Although not considered to be grains, potatoes are gluten free.

Other foods or grains that are gluten free include montina, chickpeas, sorghum, rice, amaranth, tapioca, millet, chia seeds, yams, taro, quinoa, arrowroot, lupin, sweet potato, and teff. Although wheat is not gluten free, buckwheat is. Many alcoholic drinks are also gluten free.

Because of gluten contamination issues, it is essential that you purchase these starches and grains in the most natural form possible – where they have not undergone a great deal of processing – but it is also important that you realize that few diets can be completely gluten free, and even products that are labeled as gluten free may contain just a bit of gluten.

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